The Yarmouth Junior A Mariners fell in six games in their opening round MHL playoff series to the Valley Wildcats.
A 4-2 loss yesterday in Berwick was indicative of how the series went, the Mariners poured on the pressure and doubled them in shots, but Valley capitalized on their chances.
The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead, but the Mariners got a goal from Max-Antoine Melancon in the second to make it a one goal game.
In the third, Patrick Hurley tied it up for Yarmouth, and the Mariners were controlling the play, but a late penalty led to the game winning goal from Valley captain Luke Wilson with three and a half minutes left.
The Wildcats would hit the empty net to seal it. They now have a date with the Truro Bearcats in the Eastlink South Division final.
Mariners Head Coach and General Manager Laurie Barron says his team played well through the series, but it came down to the play of Valley goaltender Antoine Lyonnais.
“I thought our goaltending was good, but their goalie was next level. In 30 plus years of doing this, I’ve never seen goaltending like that in a seven game series. He basically stole the series,” says Barron.
Lyonnais finished the series with two shutouts, a 1.70 goals-against average and a .958 save percentage.
Barron says there is light at the end of the tunnel for this season.
“I could take losing, but I couldn’t take another year of not playing in the playoffs. If I say it, I have to own it. At least the players got to experience what playing in the playoffs in Yarmouth is like.”
Now, Barron says his focus is to find places for his graduating players to play next season, and then preparations for the MHL Draft this summer.
The Mariners have six players moving on, including co-captains Kaleb Boudreau and Sam Gillis.
Also graduating are forwards Max-Antoine Melancon and Kurtis Lang, defenseman Jack Morris and goaltender A.J. DiChiara.